February 13, 2013

Around the region: Half dozen named to U.S. women's team

By NELJ Staff

Former Harvard assistant coach Jenn Russell (Andover, Mass.) is one of six players with New England ties named to the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Six players with New England ties are on the 18-player roster named by US Lacrosse to the U.S. Women’s National Team that will compete at the 2013 Federation of International Lacrosse World Cup, July 11-20 in Oshawa, Ontario.

The U.S. team will be looking to defend its 2009 gold medal and earn its seventh overall world title.

Boston University standout Danielle Etrasco was one of two current college players to make the squad; she will be joined by one of her coaches, Sarah Bullard, a Needham, Mass., native and Duke grad currently serving as a volunteer assistant at BU.

New Hampshire coach Sarah Albrecht (Braintree, Mass./Thayer Academy), and Dartmouth graduate Devon Wills return to the squad, and will be joined by first-timers Kristin Igoe (Framingham, Mass.) of Boston College, and Jenn Russell (Andover, Mass./Brooks School), who graduated from North Carolina before returning to Boston, where she worked as a Harvard assistant coach before taking a job at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The final squad was selected from a 25-player training roster, which itself was selected from a 38-player group that made up the 2012-14 national team, playing at events and exhibitions around the world.

St. Michael’s sudden change

Coaching changes are a staple of lacrosse news once the regular season ends, and through the summer until the start of the school year, but St. Michael’s College in Vermont — expected to be a contender for an NCAA Division 2 tournament berth — received a shock in mid-January, when head coach Brian Kingsbury resigned to take over the new program at Lynn University in Florida.

Not only did the timing of the move leave the team in the lurch, but Kingsbury had spent just one year in the job before leaving for the new warm-weather program.

The Purple Knights acted quickly, and brought back Pat Ivory to serve as interim head coach for 2013.

Ivory graduated from the school in Colchester, Vt., in 2008, having played defenseman; upon graduation, he served for three seasons as an assistant at the school.

In 2012, as the Purple Knights reached new heights under Kingsbury, Ivory was head coach at nearby Middlebury Union High School, leading the Tigers to an 8-10 record after inheriting a team that had gone 2-30 over the previous two years.  

NALL on schedule

The start of the first-ever full season of the North American Lacrosse League saw box lacrosse return to the Boston area in the form of the Boston Rockhoppers, who drew a crowd of roughly 1,200 to their home opener Jan. 12, a 17-16 overtime loss to the Baltimore Bombers at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, Mass.

The crowd was about half that size for the team’s second home game, a 16-9 win over the Kentucky Stickhorses.

Through the early part of the season, it appeared that the four NALL teams actually would complete the season, something that has been unusual with pro startup lacrosse leagues of late.

That said, before the season ever started, the Rhode Island Kingfish team lost its home arena deal; rather than close up shop, the team is playing all of its road games and honoring all of its commitments, without playing any home games. League officials say the Kingfish are laying the groundwork for the future, and expect the franchise to be a full-fledged league member in 2014, when there’s a good chance the league will include six or eight franchises.

Not playing home games means the Kingfish cannot play for the league championship this season; Kingfish games count in the regular-season standings of the Rockhoppers, Bombers and Stickhorses, giving the Rhode Island franchise the chance to play spoiler all season long.

With only three teams playing a full schedule, the NALL playoffs will feature a game between the second- and third-place finishers, with the winner meeting the top seed for the crown in late March or early April.

Tufts suspensions

Twenty-seven members of the Tufts University men’s lacrosse team have been penalized with a two-game suspension after an external investigation found that the athletes were guilty of “unacceptable behavior” at a women’s volleyball home game against Smith College last semester, according to a report from The Tufts Daily student newspaper.

Details of how the suspensions will be served — whether in shifts or all at once — had not been released as New England Lacrosse Journal was going to press. But the penalty applies to all members of Tufts’ team — expected to be a legitimate NCAA title contender — who attended a Sept. 21 women’s volleyball game against Smith College. The players were accused of “calling out sexist and racist insults that disparagingly referenced the Smith players by name and threatened them during the game,” according to the newspaper’s report.

This article originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of New England Lacrosse Journal.

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